After dark

Comments

The moon is amazing here at the beach.

I'm trying to do this "Blue @ Night" every evening at 9 or so, with the plan of taking it down (off the front page entirely) every morning. Consider this an open thread.

My in-laws and their parents are down the street from you.

My parents are getting in tonight. We always went to wrightsville for Easter from PA when I was a kid, picked up my granny in Benson and headed out to Johnny Mercer Pier.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I object

to your pointing out that you are enjoying the beach at this time.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

The slugfest is on

and going into hyper-drive. Just got this email from the Perdue campaign.

Richard Moore has decided to go bad for Good Friday by launching the first negative TV spot of the campaign – a hypocritical attack about college tuition increases. Richard Moore himself voted for tuition increases when he served in the General Assembly, raising tuition by more than $20 million dollars. (SB27, 1993)

And as a candidate for Congress, Moore opposed making college tuition tax deductible for low and middle income families. (Project Vote Smart 1994)

The fact is, Bev Perdue is a former teacher who has been endorsed by North Carolina’s teachers and educators. She is the education candidate in this campaign, and it's unfortunate that Moore is using the $1.5 million he's raised from Wall Street and people who do business with the Treasurer's office to start a negative campaign.

I saw the ad. The front half is a full-blown slam of Perdue's education record. I missed most of the back half because my chin was on the floor. I'm guessing it said nice stuff about Moore's plans to be the next education governor.

I hate this crap, but I suspect we're in for a lot more of it. The last sentence in the Perdue campaign email was:

Rest assured this hypocritical attack will not go unanswered.

Doesn't it suck to live with a system where the measure of success is whether your ad agency can out-gun someone else's ad agency?

I unmuted in the middle of a conversation with my wife.

When I saw the fuzzy black and white pictures of Beverly Perdue. Then, he shows that same damn footage of him walking out of the red brick building (or something like that). Note to campaign: hire videographer to shoot new footage of candidate.

This is definitely the first "Willie Horton" ad of the campaign, not that it is nearly as dirty as Willie Horton, but the whole impending doom black and white images.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Willie Horton

Really?

Hyperbole, perhaps?

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Not even close to Willie Horton

Not even close.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

More slugfest > Clinton Obama

On my favorite subject these days, by one of my favorite authors:

Hillary Clinton has just become the most significant US political figure to come out in favor of banning Blackwater and other armed private security contractors from operating in Iraq. "When I am president I will ask the Joint Chiefs for their help in reducing reliance on armed private military contractors with the goal of ultimately implementing a ban on such contractors," she declared in a major policy speech on Monday.

Her position is a welcome development for those in the Congress, such as Illinois Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who have long sought to rein in private security contractors.

In her speech, Clinton slammed Obama on this issue, saying, "Senator Obama and I have a substantive disagreement here. He won't rule out continuing to use armed private military contractors in Iraq to do jobs that historically have been done by the US military or government personnel." The Clinton campaign wants voters to believe it is that simple.

It is not.

Go read the rest. It's very good.

Nice.

I've hopped the ferry there more times than I can recall. They do a little "farmer's market" thingie next to the marina about once a week, starting pretty soon (I think).

If you haven't discovered this yet, you're only about a ten minute drive (or bus ride) from Poulsbo, which is a quaint little Nordic-ish town on Liberty Bay where my sis lived for a couple of years. Great restaurants, a bunch of weird little shops, and you can even rent a kayak and play around in the bay:

As you can see, I'm not afraid to wear pink. :)

Those lumps on the breakwater are harbor seals. Right before this picture was taken, one of them swam towards me with his head sticking up out of the water, and it looked like he was thinking about hopping up on the front of my kayak. ;o

I said, "Don't even think about it, pal", and he dove under and resurfaced on the other side of me, looking back with a smirk on his face. Wiseass.

That looks like so much fun!

Now I have something else to add to my list of things to do.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Oh, yeah. Definitely.

It's almost as good as sex (I'm assuming). :)

Being on your own little craft, tooling around on a body of water and communing with nature, is one of those activities that brings back some of the joy of childhood.

Riding a bike is another one that most people miss out on. It's a total gas, and you can see and hear stuff you miss cooped up in your car. I have a friend who rides like three miles a day on a stationary bike while watching the Discovery Channel. And he thinks I'm crazy.

I'm psyched for kayaking for sure

We haven't seen seals this trip but I'm psyched for sure. And I want to get on my bike as soon as we're settled (outside, not in my basement).

And we had lunch in Poulsbo right after we arrived a coupla weeks ago. It was a little cold to stroll around but it's proud of its Scandinavian heritage, for sure. Since April 1st we'll be moving in just over the bridge on Bainbridge, I'm pretty sure Poulsbo stores will be our main suppliers. It's definitely a change from Scotch-Irish WNC.
 
See Pat Go Bye Bye. Support Daniel Johnson.

sc, here's where we'll be kayaking

These photos are from the beach which is on or near the property we'll be renting starting April 1. This first one looks south (you can't quite see the point to the right where by boat you'd enter the inlet to Poulsbo).

Beach looking south

This photo is looking north. You can see the Port Madison Indian casino (and parking garage) as well as the Agate Pass bridge, which I imagine is going to be hell to cross in summer.

Beach looking north
 
See Pat Go Bye Bye. Support Daniel Johnson.

I am so jealous. :)

Are you still going to be there late Summer? I'll be heading that way (probably) late August or early September. Maybe we can get together for lunch or something.

Well, even then

Unless you're a serial killer.

it would probably be fun for me. ;)

Wow. That's a f**ked up thing to say. It sounded really funny in my head, but it just looks spooky typed on the screen like that. :o

I'll give you a digital holla when I work out the dates & such.

Wright or wrong?

This bugs me a bit. From Isaac Hunter's Tavern:

Hackney called today’s vote a “sad duty,” but said the House has the right and the responsibility to proceed on its own, regardless of what happens to Wright in his criminal trial: “It’s not just about him, it’s about protecting this institution.”

When I asked Hackney whether a not-guilty verdict would give him second thoughts, he said “Not a one.”

I guess it bugs me because of the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing. While I respect Hackney greatly, I'm disturbed that he seems to feel that the legislative branch can replace the judicial. If Wright is found "not guilty" in a court of law, that's supposed to wipe the slate clean. I'm not naive; I realize how unlikely that is, particularly because of today's action, and the evidence that has been brought forth.

However, I was raised to believe in a clear line of distinction between the branches of government. Those lines are there for a reason -- and I get itchy when they are blurred by anyone, even a legislator I otherwise respect.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Agree

I think the legislature probably made the right call ... but at the wrong time. In their haste to show they're cleaning up dodge, they got ahead of the game. They should have found another way to manage this ... waiting for a court ruling before acting on expulsion.

I don't necessarily think it's racism ... I just think it stinks.

Or...

...letting the voters have their say against Wright in 6 weeks.
----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

The distinction is very clear

Thomas Wright was not put on trial. The House of Representatives is not a court of law.

However, the House has the power to expel one of its members. The standard of evidence they require is not that which prosecutors will have to meet in a trial. Wright wasn't subject to losing his freedom, nor was he subject to a monetary penalty, as would be the case in criminal or civil trials.

He was being judged by the membership of his fitness to occupy his seat. This is a power that has been exercised, though rarely, in the past, and if ever there were a case for them to exercise it in the present -- this was it.

Ethics is what this was about. The jury and judge in a trial aren't going to find facts or make conclusions of law about his ethics. But the membership of the House of Reprsentatives, before which he took an oath, has every right to determine whether or not he broke that oath.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Exactly!

Thank you for this.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I Agree w/ Linda

I may actually do an entire post on this. The entire thing is bothersome to me on a lot of levels.

Wright wasn't subject to losing his freedom, nor was he subject to a monetary penalty, as would be the case in criminal or civil trials.

Certainly you're right on the first part, but the second part isn't true. The legislative salary and stipend, while not considerable, losing it does amount to a monetary penalty.

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Yes, but a monetary penalty he should have been prepared to pay

as soon as he crossed the line. Six more weeks of someone who has the questions surrounding him that Wright does? Nah.....I'd rather give up my representation than have an alleged crook rep me....but that's just me.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Well...

You mean like Jim Black?
----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Jim Black was the Speaker

And the Speaker did get to control a lot of shots. Sadly, it wasn't until he toppled that the structure supporting him fell apart.

Hackney isn't Black, though, as he has demonstrated.

Also, unlike the case with Black, Wright got nabbed by being really, really clumsy with his fraud. Black was smarter. His undoing depended upon a series of events falling into place that might easily NOT have fallen into place -- and into the special prosecutor's lap.

One would hope that people wouldn't suggest that because the Democrats put up with Black for so long they must also put up with the next guy who gets caught.

The fact that Black's misdeeds finally did catch up with him made Wright's fall that much more likely.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Don't Misunderstand Me

I don't have a problem that he was expelled, actually.

I have a problem that the members of the legislature and, to a large extent, the NC Democratic Party, haven't been consistent on the issue of ethics.

If they want to draw the line in the sand over Wright, then fine.

But define that line (don't cherrypick) and hold every elected member of the legislature and every elected member of the Party to that same standard.

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Black resigned

Jim Black resigned before pleading guilty. Wright got his power from Jim Black because he delivered the black caucus. He learned nothing from Black's demise. He wallowed in the "security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed"

well put

Took Black long enough, though, didn't it?
His delay brought to mind another venerable expression: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

And it is not just 6 more weeks

Even if Wright lost the primaray he would have served out the whole short term,which these days isn't very short.

Losing pay isn't the same as being charged a fine

And it would be appalling if he were permitted to keep monetary reimbursement for serving when not only did he NOT serve but abused the trust invested in him.

Not only did this procedure against Wright not STINK, it was timely.

The body did wait, some would argue they waited a long time, to take action though the evidence was available long ago. The reason they waited was that Colon Willoughby asked for time to complete his investigation. That is exactly what happened.

Were Wright a member of the bar, the bar could certainly take action prior to any court proceeding, just as the NC Bar did with respect to Nifong. Wright wasn't a member of the bar, but he did swear an oath before the House of Representatives and boy did he ever violate it.

There is no sense in which Thomas Wright was wronged in this process. Allegations of racism are utterly, utterly ridiculous, which is why it was just as well that we heard that argument from Doug Harris making instead of Irving Joyner. Of course, Harris was doing his job, but having to make that argument -- ugh. I have always had great respect for Irving Joyner, and it was a pleasure to listen to him during the ethics hearings, just because it is a pleasure to hear a professional do such a damned good job. But he couldn't pull Wright out of this mess. All he could argue was procedure, and he knew that that argument wasn't going to fly.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Overdue

The amount of unreported money and diverted money that went Wright far exceeds a nominal salary. Wright had many opportunities to clear up the initial conflicts in his campaign reports regarding late reporting of Hugo Neu and other contributions. His obstructionism caused investigators to keep digging and emboldened others to come forward with information. He was well past the "sell by" date yesterday.

Fair point.

See below. Who represents his constituents now?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

To me, it's more about his constituents losing their

representation. Who is representing them now? Who stands for them right now? Speaker Hackney? Is there a first runner up who steps in should he no longer be able to perform his duties?

No I didn't think so.

That's my issue with this.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Will be treated just like he resigned or died

There is a method to replace a member by the leadership of the local parties of the counties in the district.
He should be replaced in a couple of weeks at most.
And the people that will vote on it are people the are elected at the county convention. Several people will be looked at, and the committee will choose from them. It is very transparent and open process. We had to use it in our district to replace Sen.Scott Thomas when he resigned to become our D.A.

A replacement will be selected the same way

Jim Black's replacement was selected....that brought us Tricia Cotham, so that didn't turn out so awful, did it? They will have representation.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

not what the Observer said

RALEIGH, N.C. --Democratic Party officials plan to meet in the next few weeks to choose a replacement for state Rep. Thomas Wright.

The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to expel Wright from office.

The Star-News of Wilmington reported Friday that four local Democratic leaders must choose a party member to represent New Hanover and Pender counties.

Melvin Williams, chairman of the Democrats' 7th Congressional District Committee, said anyone interested in Wright's seat will be considered.

Wright is the fist state lawmaker kicked out of office in 128 years. House members agreed with a legislative ethics committee that determined Wright mishandled or hid about $340,000 in loans and campaign and charitable contributions.

Wright faces felony charges in the case but has denied any wrongdoing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Information from: The Star-News, http://starnewsonline.com

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

I didn't realize the rules differed by county

but there will be representation and that's the important part.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Paper may be wrong

I am with you on this one, I thought the replacement was goverened by the party plan of organization. I know this may come as a shocker but the paper may be wrong (sarcasm intended).

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

I'm shocked

and awed.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

When the Honorable

Representative Bernard Allen passed, (if I remember correctly) the chairs and delegates of his district held a special election to choose Dan Blue as a successor. I'm not sure if this was Wake County Party Plan of Organization or Statewide. Where's PR Latta when I need him? He knows the procedure like no other. I feel, as any election, the choice should be made by those within the district versus party folks. Isn't that reminiscent of the whole superdelegate debacle?

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
- William G. McAdoo

I think State House Reps

are selected by the precinct officers in the district of the rep being replaced and maybe county party officials? I can't really remember everyone who is allowed to vote. This is one reason why it is important to organize as many precincts as possible each year.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I understand it's about ethics

But I look at the body of individuals judging this man - and knowing the misdeeds of some of the others, I think "Who are they to remove the sliver from this man's eye?" and worse - Who are they to deprive his district of their elected representation. Who is representing his district right now? Have they appointed someone? Or is it no one?

Which comes first? The legislature's right to expel someone who has violated their elastic set of ethical guidelines, or the people's right to elected representation?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

This is one where the two sides won't meet

I've heard all the arguments, and I especially appreciate Greg's measured opinion. But I think the pro-expulsion crowd is wrong from a process point of view.

PS

It'll be interesting to see what happens when the next transgressor comes along, someone who happens to be a powerful white guy. I'll be very surprised to see the honorables in a big hurry to slam him out.

How closely did you follow the proceedings?

How familiar are you, actually, with the facts of this case? Frankly, your readiness to suggest that racism is at work smacks of the kind of knee-jerk reaction that discredits those who actually DO have cases to make based on racism. Crying "racism" under these circumstances is as heinous as crying "rape" when no rape occurred. It contributes to a cynicism that is harmful to everyone, but especially harmful to actual victims.

Rick Glazier's response is worth listening to, for those who are interested, a link is here at the March 5th "Isaac Hunter's Tavern":

http://wunc.org/programs/news/Isaac-Hunters-Tavern/archives/2008/3/5

I quote from Laura Leslie's column, which quotes Glazier and adds her own reaction:

Among other things, Glazier said:

I’ve been a defense lawyer and a civil rights lawyer for many years, and I think I understand fairly well the issues of discrimination. I’m a minority member of a religion and have been discriminated against a number of times in my life, and I understand the pain that goes with it.

…I find acts of racism abhorrent, and an utter violation of person’s right to equal protection and equal dignity. Now, I find equally abhorrent “racism” labels tossed out capriciously, and discrimination allegations charged against people where no good-faith basis exists in law and fact to do so.

…Charges of racism, if proved, carry an enormously stigmatizing effect, and they should only be leveled after careful investigation, thoughtful deliberation, and always with a reasonable basis in law and in fact.

…I find in this case that the filing of this motion was patently without a good-faith basis in law and fact, and is, in my opinion, beneath the dignity of those who raise it. I deny the motion as frivolous, groundless, and meritless.

Laura Leslie adds:

The transcript doesn’t do it justice: the raw emotion in his voice left the room stunned and quiet when he finished. If you’ve got five minutes, listen - it’s worth it.

I also wonder, given your "P. S." how closely you've followed discussion on the history of this kind of action. It is very, very rare. In this case, given the audacity of Wright's abuse of office, I don't see how the House could avoid it on one hand, and on the other assure the citizens that ethics *are* being taken seriously by the party in power.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

I followed every printed story on the proceedings I could find

And listened to every report available, including all the ones you referenced. Your implication that I must be uninformed because I don't agree with you is unwelcome.

I think Wright is guilty and I think he should be expelled. What I've said is that I don't like the timing of the action.

As to racism, you're entitled to disagree with me. The only point of comparison I can easily make is the case involving Jim Black, who was allowed to operate for years without anyone daring to raise the issue of his corruption. You say it's because he was a powerful figure with a long reach. If that's true, it implies a level of situational ethics among the honorables that would be nothing short of despicable.

I happen to think that racism is an undercurrent in many aspects of North Carolina public policy. As "undercurrent," it is very difficult to know when it's present and when it's not. Which makes your comparison to rape downright silly. Rape can be determined as a matter of fact. It either happened or it didn't. That's clearly not possible when the issue involves the possibility of deep cultural bias.

The legislature had an infinite number of options for dealing with this. I suspect that some wanted to clean it up fast so it wouldn't contaminate the upcoming election cycle. Some were operating with a pure motive for justice and integrity. But whatever their motives, I consider their priorities misplaced.

Of all the screwed up stuff in North Carolina right now - the disaster in mental health, the presence of mercenaries on our soil, the epidemic of high-school dropouts, the imminent water crisis - it's very hard for me to make the case that dealing with Wright warranted the emergency action of calling the General Assembly into a special session.

Brunette regrets

sounding so freakin' bitchy.

I apologize for the tone of my earlier emails. I went right out and repotted a series of plants but *knew* I should have been more temperate and judicious with my statements. I really am sorry about that.

You say it's because he was a powerful figure with a long reach. If that's true, it implies a level of situational ethics among the honorables that would be nothing short of despicable.

You got that right. However, I did point out that another reason he got away with it for so long is that he wasn't nearly as obvious as Wright. Wright nailed himself. Black actually wound up tripping over a sequence of events that only seemed inevitable in retrospect. Took a while, but it happened.

But it isn't as though we could isolate the cases. The fact of what happened with Black made inevitable that the next whiff of bad air would provoke a strong response on the part of the Democrats, who needed badly to do some damage control. But geez, Wright didn't give them a whiff. Wright dumped a big stinkin' pile of manure at the board of elections. It's almost as though he went out of his way to screw himself.

Rape can be determined as a matter of fact. It either happened or it didn't.

No, actually, determining whether or not rape happened it isn't that cut and dry. I don't know a medical professional or an attorney who would say it is. But that's another point. In fact, it seems to me that yours has shifted a little.

First, I do understand your observation about the difficulty of determining the existence or nonexistence of racism as part of any dealing between people in this culture. But what we are talking about -- or at least what I was talking about -- is whether or not the facts available to us present a reasonable case that it was racism rather than the blatancy of Wright's abuses that provoked the House to take action.

My point about comparing the cry of "racism" to rape does stand. While I agree, as noted above, that it is likely that all of us entertain racist thoughts even when we aren't THINKING that we are doing so, it is no more reasonable to cry "racism" in a case like this than it would be to suggest that in ANY exchange between people of different races, the motivating factor of one person's point of view in a given argument is race. That is, the term becomes meaningless when tossed around that often.

It's one thing to comment on cultural tensions, but it is another to suggest that men like Joe Hackney or Rick Glazier were acting on the basis of race -- and while I hear you now (I think) disavow that that was your meaning, it was easy to make the assumption that it was because of the context of your remarks.

The timing was as soon as it could possibly be done. Action would have been taken as soon as the evidence emerged had not Colon Willoughby requested that the House delay until he had completed his investigation. As soon as Willoughby gave the green light, they went into action. What's mysterious about "as soon as possible?"

What possible justification would the House have for delaying -- other than to hand you or me an excuse for saying that they were protecting one of their own?

Infinite options? No, they didn't have an infinite number of options. I'm sure they wish that they did, but no, they didn't.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Here's a conundrum:

What if (as some have suggested) the GA decided to wait and let the voters get rid of him, but they reelected him anyway, even knowing he would likely be convicted of the criminal charge?

What's better: getting rid of him now when his mandate from the voters is in doubt, or getting rid of him later when his mandate from the voters is ironclad?

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